What is the use of humour in Pride and Prejudice.The prime theme line of Pride and Prejudice has little to do with humour. But I would like to know how humour played its role in depicting some...

What is the use of humour in Pride and Prejudice.

The prime theme line of Pride and Prejudice has little to do with humour. But I would like to know how humour played its role in depicting some characters and presenting some chapters by Jane Austen.

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lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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There are several places where Austen has her characters speak in clever ways or where the reader can see that Austen is satirizing some aspect of human behavior, but one of the best examples to look at is the character of Mr. Collins -- especially in the scene where he proposes to Elizabeth.  Mr. Collins is characterized as a man who loves to hear himself talk and who has no good sense about his interactions with people around him.  He talks to much; he introduces himself to people in social positions above his own; he insults the intelligence and condescends to people; and he is just annoying in his conversations.  He talks too much about Lady Catherine.  He knows that he will inherit Longbourne upon the death of Mr. Bennet, and yet is rude to Jane and Elizabeth when suggesting that they should marry him -- almost "rubbing it in their face" that they will lose their family home.

One of the funniest scenes is his actual proposal to Elizabeth.  He says one wrong thing after another and refuses to take her rejection.  He explains that if Jane is already taken, then he will settle for Elizabeth.  He tells that he is interested in marriage only because Lady Catherine told him to marry.  He hears her heartfelt rejection, but then suggests that she is only saying no because that is what ladies do, and assumes that she is really intending to say yes.  It finally takes a firm no and her leaving the room for her answer to sink in.  He obviously isn't all that heartbroken because the next we hear of him, he has proposed to Charlotte and she has accepted! 

Collins is a great example of a character established to illustrate Austen's satire on the subjects of marriage, society's rules, and the general foolishness of some people.  His fussy attitude and fawning nature are laughable every time we see him!

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